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What is the Grand Jury and What’s All This Talk About it in Watsonville?

Rumor has it the Grand Jury has been pulling in City Council Members, City Officials and other “movers and shakers” talking to them about Watsonville

Rumor has it the grand jury has been pulling in City Council members, city officials and other “movers and shakers,” talking about Watsonville. What is the grand jury looking for? No one is at liberty to say; however, people are talking, and they are worried.  Many do not know what the grand jury really is and what it came to Watsonville to do.

 The grand jury consists of people from every walk of life who work to ensure that the institutions of government are responsive and fair to those who are governed. It also protects minority opinions or unpopular causes from persecution or prosecution. The grand jury is one of the oldest, most respected, and powerful civil institutions in the United States. The state of California mandates that 19 randomly selected citizens be chosen every year to sit on the grand jury in Santa Cruz County. The grand hury selection process is set forth in the California Penal Code

The grand jury is part of the judicial branch of government and has three functions:

1)      To examine all aspects of city and county governments and special districts by initiating its own investigations.

2)      To serve as ombudsmen for the citizens of the cities and county. A person can request the help of the grand jury by writing to:

3)      To conduct criminal investigations and, if the evidence is sufficient, issue criminal indictments in lieu of a preliminary Superior Court hearing. (co.santa-cruz.ca.us/grandjury/gjfunction.htm)

Now the real question: What is it doing pulling in Watsonville city staff, City Council and other residents?  Like stated previously, I do not know, and for the record, I have not been pulled in myself.  What I do know is this. Watsonville has been under a lot of scrutiny. It was just this past Thursday that City Manager Carlos Palacios announced a proposed budget that includes . Also, the committee consisting of Mayor Daniel Dodge, and Councilmen Manuel Bersamin and Eduardo Montesino have proposed a 20 percent cut (around $55,000) to social services groups.

That being said, people are starting to wonder where their tax dollars are going. The city manager and staff salaries, according to the state website, total up to a whopping $676,500. We have a absent fire truck worth $200,00 that we paid for three years ago that should be here in June (doubt it). And, hearing about the many shenanigans that go on in the nearly empty Civic Plaza, I am going to assume that a couple people will be in a little trouble, and when I say little, in my mind I see the city of Bell.

But hey, what do I know?  I am just sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see what the grand jury says.   

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Patricia May 26, 2011 at 05:30 AM
Very good article, Morgan. Very curious as to what and why Watsonville City and its personnel have been questioned ... as they say ... where there's smoke ... there most likely is fire. After all, the Grand Jury does not waste their time with nonsensical things ... June will be a very interesting month for discovery ... ;-)
Butch Cole May 26, 2011 at 06:37 PM
A question that, I'm sure, many of us ask ourselves over and over again....Where the heck does all the money go? We have the lottery for schools....where the heck does that go? We have gas and other tax that are suppose to go for roads and public transportation....where the heck does that go? On the other hand....why the heck do these politcians need/get so darned much money to run a failing business? Hmmm...makes one wonder.
Patricia May 27, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Good questions, Butch. Look at our roads and at our educational system and the city and county in general. Where does all that money go because it's not going where it is supposed to be going? :-( Talk about failing business.

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